To define whether hyperoxia induces the dysfunction of membrane fusion between synaptic vesicles with pre-synaptic plasma membranes in the nerve terminals, and whether vitamin E prevents this abnormal event, we investigated the influence of hyperoxia on the fusion ability of isolated synaptic vesicles and the inside-out type pre-synaptic plasma membrane vesicles from rat brain using the fluorescence tracing method. The membrane fusion ability of both membranes from rats subjected to hyperoxia was markedly decreased compared with the membranes from a normal rat. Rats subjected to hyperoxia in the form of oxidative stress showed significant increases in the levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), conjugated dienes, and protein carbonyl moieties in both synaptic vesicles and pre-synaptic plasma membranes. When rats were supplemented with vitamin E, these abnormalities were inhibited even when rats were subjected to hyperoxia.
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